Diplomatic Relations between the United States and Brazil

By Lawrence F. Hill | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
FROM EMPIRE TO REPUBLIC IN BRAZIL

GENERAL Webb's departure from Rio de Janeiro late in May, 1869, marked a turning point in Brazilian-American relations. The unpleasant incidents which frequently marred the intercourse at an earlier date are practically absent from the more recent period. The spirit of cordiality which some writers have erroneously ascribed to the entire century does in reality accurately characterize the later period. Perhaps one reason for the improvement was the fact that the foreign office at Washington, partly because of improvement in means of communication and partly because of an increased interest in Latin American affairs generally, kept in more intimate touch with its diplomatic agents in Brazil. But the motives which impelled the policy underwent little change. The United States government continued to advocate for the entire hemisphere the set of political principles which it cherished and professed to follow in shaping its own conduct. These principles or ideals were generally opposed to those practiced by the nations of the Old World. The United States government likewise continued the attempt to secure for its people a due share of the commerce which Brazilians had to offer.

Soon after taking office Webb's successor, Henry T. Blow of St. Louis, realized that many obstacles had to be removed before the United States and Brazil could fully understand and appreciate each other; in his own words he could "see nothing in our recent intercourse which would warrant me in relying on any very great sympathy, either of the govern-

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